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18% of Survey Respondents Indicate Optimizing Budget is Their Biggest Challenge

It doesn’t matter if you are a smaller business with a limited budget, or a larger business with a generous budget. Optimizing your paid search marketing investment is a critical component to a successful, ROI positive program. So how do you make sure that you are every dollar you spend provides you with the best chance for success?

There is no short answer to this question, but there are some best practices you can deploy to be sure that you give yourself the tools within the Adwords systems and be sure you are targeting prospects at the right spot in the buyers journey to gain more precise control over where your dollars are spent.


“It’s easy to waste money in this channel, and is the reason so many fail at it. It’s time to stop thinking in terms of marketing spend, and start thinking in terms of marketing investment. Investment implies a positive return, and that is a huge difference in mindset.”


Campaign Setup

One of the interesting limitations of Adwords is it requires users to set budgets at the campaign level. Yet advises to have more than one ad group of related keyword buckets within a campaign.

While this makes conceptual sense, when it comes to optimizing budget it is seriously lacking as you cannot maximize spend in the best performing ad groups and minimize it in ad groups that need improvement.

In most cases it makes sense to limit campaigns to one ad group per. This way we have more granular control over where our marketing dollars are invested. Providing as much budget as possible to our high performing campaigns while limiting it campaigns we are trying to improve.


The Buyers Journey

The beauty of paid search marketing is that it is what I call “Intent Marketing” and not demographic marketing. On a platform like Facebook we can target someone that looks like they fit our definition of a prospect. The problem is we have no idea if they actually are a prospect and have no indication of if, or when, they will be in-market for our product or service.

With intent marketing we cannot single out those that fit our profile of a prospect, but we can target prospects that are in-market-now based off the language they use in their search.

One of the biggest mistakes I see paid search marketers make is the keywords and match types they use are targeting prospects in the wrong spot in the buyer’s journey, or the wrong prospects altogether.

Let’s re-familiarize ourselves with the buyer’s journey, laid out here in graphical form. (image credit to Hubspot)



Ask yourself, what is the difference between someone searching for ‘cleaning carpets’ versus ‘carpet cleaning company’? I would argue the first is looking for some self help, and the second is looking for a service provider.

What about someone searching for ‘microsoft SharePoint’ versus ‘microsoft SharePoint services’? The former is in the awareness stage of researching a potential solution or general information, and the latter indicates a prospect looking for outside help.

In order to get in front of in-market-now prospects you need to be targeting your keywords between the consideration and decision stage of the buyer’s journey. Only when you have exhausted all keywords in this stage do you move back between the awareness and consideration stage for an incremental lift.

In addition to the keyword qualifiers you use in your phrases to target the proper spot in the buyer’s journey, your keyword match types will have an effect here as well.

In most cases the more restrictive your match type the more relevant the searches Google will match you up with. In practical terms this means staying away from broad match as much as possible. Any broad match keywords used must prove they are a valuable contributor, to the point that I often isolate them in a separate campaign for better tracking.

Exact match, phrase match and modified broad match are the search types that should bring the best results. Be sure to continuously monitor what Google is matching them up with and adjust as necessary to be sure you have the best performing mix of match types in your campaign.

Using these strategies will help you get in front of the prospects that show the proper intent, and limit your wasted spend by Google matching your targeted terms up too loosely.


Bid Types Matter

Depending on how specific, and how far into the buyer’s journey your keywords are has a direct impact on the ability to maximize your budget. Luckily Google provides a variety of bid types to help us get the biggest bang for our buck.

While I prefer manual bids to see if we can compete in the top three search results there are times when the keywords are just general enough and have a high enough level of cost and competition that the numbers just don’t work.

In these cases it is important to test other bid types like automated bids, enhanced CPC and others to see if you can bring your cost per conversion and cost per sale in line with what you need to generate that all important positive return on investment.


Keep Testing Your Landing Pages

The final tip we’ll give you to help you optimize your budget had to do with your landing pages. The better you convert visiting prospects the more opportunities you have to close a sale.

Never, and I mean never, sit back and ride with one version of your landing page. Prospects at certain stages of the buyer’s journey respond to different information, layouts and sales strategies. Consistent testing will lead to improved results. Make this part of your ongoing routine.


Where Do I Go From Here?

What we’ve covered here is the just the tip of the iceberg. If you are looking for more detailed strategies for optimizing your paid search marketing budget both while getting started and while scaling your program consider purchasing our affordable advanced guides. Each is chock full of the tips, tricks and strategies we employ to build successful programs for clients all over the country. Take the lessons we’ve learned and put them into practice to bring your paid search marketing program to the next level.

Think you might need more help? Why not reach out for a consultation with our resident paid search marketing consultants so we can review your specific needs and challenges and provide the solutions you need to move forward.

It is possible to solve your budget optimization issue, and we are happy to help any way we can.

As a onetime special, we are offering you 25% off of any of our advanced guides if you make your purchase in the next 5 days. Simply use coupon code DIAGNOSTIC25 during checkout.

Solving your budget optimization issue should be your biggest priority and I hope we’ve helped set you on a path to success.



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